Global warming

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The IPCC report on global warming, followed almost immediately by widespread concern over air pollution (your report, 4 April), illustrates just one conundrum of climate control.

Smog, being particulate in nature, reflects sunlight and so to some extent counteracts the greenhouse effect. If we could magically overnight cease to use fossil fuel the smogs would rapidly disappear – and since the greenhouse gas concentrations would be unaffected, the immediate consequence would be an increase in global warming! Hopefully this would be only a small step to a then-stable state, but that small step might actually alter things so much (plant life on land and sea has a huge effect on climate) as to induce further undesirable consequences; and so on.

Can we really presume ourselves so clever as to be able to control the earth’s climate to suit our own ends ?


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